VEAC proposes new parks for the Central West

The Victorian Environment Assessment Council has recommended that a significant part of the Wombat forest be included in a new Wombat-Lerderderg National Park.

The recommendation comes in VEAC’s draft report on its Central West Investigation.

Also included in the report is a recommendation that the western part of the Wellsford State Forest be absorbed into the Bendigo Regional Park, and the eastern and northern section of the forest be created as a nature reserve.

The main impact of these latter changes would be the protection of the Wellsford from logging. Readers will remember that Vicforests was proposing renewed logging in this magnificent box ironbark area.

VEAC has clearly bent over backwards to accommodate conflicting demands for the Wellsford. The recommended changes would exclude logging: but regional parks are managed primarily for recreation, and allow practically all recreational activities apart from hunting. This latter is seen, logically enough, to ‘[conflict] with use by large numbers of other recreational users.’  The nature reserve section of the forest would be managed along the lines of a national park.

‘The intention of these draft recommendations is to focus protection of key natural values in the recommended nature reserve and recreational activities in the recommended regional park.’

There are many other recommendations in the VEAC draft report, which can be found here. Though it concerns areas outside the Mount Alexander region, it is of absorbing interest to anyone interested in the wider Central/West central Victorian region. We’ll go into some of the issues it deals with in future posts.

The VEAC investigation was characterised by some pretty strange lobbying by  recreational interests, some of whom seemed to think it is an infringement of their liberty to be obliged to drive their car on a road. The council’s attempt at a balanced compromise is probably going to cop some flak, so those interested in the proper management of our neighbouring regions are encouraged to check the draft, and make a submission.

Written submissions close on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

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